Amazon.com, the world's largest Internet retailer, currently collects sales taxes from customers in just five states, including Washington, giving it a price advantage of up to 10 percent in most of the country. But the days of tax-free Internet shopping appear to be coming to an end, something that Amazon itself has conceded in recent months.
As they discovered, that wasn't enough.
Amazon also insisted on an exemption from collecting the state's 6 percent sales tax on purchases by South Carolinians. When the state Legislature balked, voting down the sales-tax break last spring, Amazon stopped construction on its million-square-foot warehouse and prepared to leave, throwing thousands of jobs into jeopardy.
The threat worked. After an intense fight that pitted Amazon and local economic-development boosters against small businesses and big retailers like Walmart, lawmakers reversed themselves and handed Amazon a five-year sales-tax reprieve.
The South Carolina episode is one of many confrontations Amazon has faced in its national fight to hang on, for as long as possible, to one of its major advantages over brick-and-mortar retailers.
Full story at The Seattle Times.